White Sox

'Strange' setting awaits as White Sox, Orioles play in empty park

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'Strange' setting awaits as White Sox, Orioles play in empty park

BALTIMORE -- The White Sox and Baltimore Orioles will make major league history on Wednesday afternoon when they play in front of a closed stadium.

But at this point, that’s all White Sox players and coaches know about what to expect when they take the field at 2:05 p.m. EST with nobody else inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards aside from media, scouts and team officials.

Their three-game series halted for two days because of Monday’s citywide unrest, the White Sox and Orioles are set to play for the first time this week with one caveat -- they’ll do it front of 45,971 empty seats. The silent venue is just another twist on what has been a surreal and somewhat scary week for the White Sox, who head to Minneapolis to open a four-game series Thursday.

[MORE: Baltimore unrest puts things in perspective for White Sox]

“I don’t think anyone is prepared to play in this atmosphere or not,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s going to be strange. There’s no way around it. For us the focus is to go out and play baseball. But it’s going to be strange, for sure.”

Since word came down on Tuesday afternoon that the series would resume on Wednesday, several players have suggested the experience would be akin to spring training B games and similar minor league experiences. But those games take place on backfields at major league training facilities where a few dozen fans can sit on aluminum benches and not in one of Major League Baseball’s most pristine parks.

Though MSNBC reported early Wednesday that the Orioles plan to run their regular in-game operations, including walkup music and players announced as they hit as well as the National Anthem -- the team isn’t commenting on the process, a spokesperson said.

“I don’t think the strangeness has set in right now,” infielder Gordon Beckham said. “I’ve never played in a big league stadium that was empty. The closest I came was at the end of the season in Cleveland when there was like 1,000 people there. It’ll be interesting. We’ve talked about possibly doing some cheering without any noise just to, kind of, add to it. If somebody gets a hit, give them (a silent clap) without saying anything to kind of add to the ambiance. So we’ll see.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Buy an Adam Eaton jersey here]

Adam Eaton was asked about the cues crowds provide on how hard a ball has been hit or if a pitch gets past the catcher. He expects that to be an added element to the uniqueness of the affair.

“Hearing is huge for an outfielder,” Eaton said. “You hear balls in the gap, how hard it’s hit, how weakly it’s hit. You know if a ball gets by the catcher, if a guy is stealing, you can hear that all from the crowd. So it is going to be different, but we’ve done it before when we were in the minor leagues and we’ll have to bring those senses back and really pay attention.”

Without a crowd, players expect to hear broadcasters, who are situated about 180 feet behind home plate. They’ll be able to hear each other, including third-base coaches shouting instructions at players. And there will be an absence of hecklers from the stands, too.

“It will be a different feeling,” designated hitter Adam LaRoche said. “You get used to fans, whether it’s 5,000 or 50,000, you get used to that. Anytime you do something you’re not used to or something that’s a little odd it’s going to be different.”

Ozzie Guillen rips Nick Swisher again while telling story from 2008

Ozzie Guillen rips Nick Swisher again while telling story from 2008

Ozzie Guillen isn’t done ragging on Nick Swisher. Guillen took another shot at the former White Sox outfielder while telling a story on White Sox Postgame Live Tuesday night.

When giving an example of why he loves Juan Uribe so much, Guillen decided to tell a story of an interaction between Swisher and Uribe on “Nick Swisher bobblehead night” at U.S. Cellular Field.

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“(Swisher) comes to Uribe and says, ‘Hey Juan, look at what I got!’” Guillen said while pretending to hold a bobblehead. “And Juan said, ‘Ya, you seen outside? I’ve got a statue. I’ve got it hitting, catching the ball when we won the World Series. You don’t.’ How about that one?”

Uribe was critical in the White Sox World Series championship, including recording the final two outs of Game 4. One of those outs-- his grab made while falling into the stands-- is the catch that has been enshrined outside Guaranteed Rate Field.

Nick Swisher only played one season in Chicago, and slashed .219/.332/.410 with a -1.4 dWAR.

Apparently that one season made quite the impression on Guillen, as he declared last week, “I hate Nick Swisher with my heart.”


RELATED: White Sox hitters rough up Carson Fulmer in first game against former team

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Day after Keuchel calls out team, White Sox offense erupts in win over Tigers

Day after Keuchel calls out team, White Sox offense erupts in win over Tigers

Whatever Dallas Keuchel said after Monday night’s uninspiring loss to the Tigers really worked. Or maybe the return of Tim Anderson and Edwin Encarnacion to the lineup gave the Sox the spark they needed? Or maybe it was a little bit of both?

Whatever the reason, the White Sox offense finally broke out of its collective slump in Tuesday’s 8-4 win against Detroit.

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Leading the charge was Eloy Jiménez, who busted out of a slump of his own by going 2-4 with a homer and four RBI. He had previously been 1-23 dating back to Aug. 5, and used a simple approach to break through.

“I was in a slump, and I feel like I was seeing the ball good, but I wasn’t hitting it to the right spot,” Jiménez said through interpreter Billy Russo. “(I was) swinging at some balls a little bit out of the zone. Now I’m just trying to see the ball and hit it where there’s no people.”

That’s always a good idea.

But when asked for his thoughts on Jiménez’s day, Rick Renteria provided a bit more of a nuanced assessment.

“Consistency, there’s no secret to it,” Renteria said. “Solid approaches working both lefties and righties… faced some righties today and was able to stay in on them. The two-strike ball down the right field line to tack on another run, I mean he had some really good at-bats today.”

Zooming back out, this is the type of offensive output the White Sox envisioned when they built this team last winter. Tim Anderson setting the table, Jiménez and Encarnacion hitting bombs, and Abreu and Moncada driving in more runs with timely hitting.

“The entire lineup looked great,” said starter Gio Gonzalez. “Everyone looked aggressive going out there. Plays were being made around the horn, guys were doing their job hitting the ball, moving runners over. It just looked like a White Sox win today.”

“Today we felt really good,” Jiménez said. “We took care of business and you see what happened.”

RELATED: White Sox hitters rough up Carson Fulmer in first game against former team

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